The Wolfson Times #NPPF letter in full

Planning deterrent
But if we wish this country to remain internationally competitive we must
tackle head on the sluggish pace and disproportionate costs of planning

Sir, There are plenty of reasons why more firms invest in the UK than any other
destination in Europe — not least our flexible highly skilled workforce, world-class
universities, and unparalleled links both to the Continent and to the States. But there is
one British institution that actively deters investment: our creaking planning system is
increasingly driving investors away and putting the brakes on UK businesses that want
to expand.

We have all seen worthwhile, job-creating projects killed off by a system where the
presumption is “no”. Even when permission is granted it can take years to deliver a
decision on vital pieces of infrastructure. And as the BCC’s recent survey shows, more
than seven in ten businesses find that they are locked out of local debates about

It is right to value and protect green spaces. Nobody is talking about building on the
green belt or in the many areas of outstanding natural beauty. And it is right to ensure
local communities have their say. But if we wish this country to remain internationally
competitive, if we want the jobs and prosperity that growth brings, we must tackle head
on the sluggish pace and disproportionate costs of planning.

As business owners and managers, in a personal capacity we welcome the government’s
reforms. We know that delivering faster decisions at a lower cost will help us invest.
Which means that anyone who wants to see more jobs and growth in this country should
welcome these reforms too.
Duncan Bannatyne
Chairman, Bannatyne Group
Robert Bensoussan
Chairman, LK Bennett
Simon Blagden
Chairman, Fujitsu Telecommunications
Europe Ltd
Neil Clifford
Chief Executive, Kurt Geiger
Peter Cullum
Executive Chairman, Towergate
Ron Dennis
Executive Chairman, McLaren
Tej Dhillon
Chairman, Dhillon Group
Sir Christopher Gent
Chairman, GlaxoSmithKline plc
Michael Gutman
Managing Director, Westfield Group
Brent Hoberman
Luke Johnson
Chairman, Risk Capital Partners LLPBuilding Consensus
Political Liaison I Community Consultation I Media Relations
Ian Livingston
Chief Executive Officer, BT Group
Charlie Mullins
Managing driector, Pimlico Plumbers
Alistair McGeorge
Executive Chairman, New Look
Sir Stuart Rose
Tim Steiner
Founder & CEO, Ocado
Ted Tuppen
Chief Executive, Enterprise Inns
Moni Varma
Chairman, Veetee Food Group
Tom Wells
Vice Chairman, Charles Wells
Nick Wheeler
CEO, Charles Tyrwhitt
Simon Wolfson
Chief Executive, Next

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